Methane from gas drilling: Manning family told, “Don’t use your kitchen stove”
Ordinary worries pale in comparison to the possibility that turning on your kitchen stove could cause a flash fire. Yet another family has joined the ranks of hundreds of families severely impacted by unconventional gas drilling, from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming to many communities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere.
Tammy Manning is coming to Philadelphia this Thursday, September 20th, to share some of the hardships her family has been through due to shale gas drilling. She will speak both at the press conference and from the main stage at the Shale Gas Outrage rally (12 noon, Arch and 13th). The crowd will have to quiet down to hear her voice and possibly the even softer voice of her granddaughter, Madison, now age 6. Madison experienced vomiting while the family’s water and air was impacted by fracking, until their well water was disconnected and a “water buffalo,” a tank that holds fresh clean water, was installed.
Their home, in Susquehanna County, PA, still has a water buffalo, unlike some in impacted communities in Pennsylvania, such as the Woodlands community in Butler Coumty, who live desperate lives after their water buffaloes are removed.
Tammy told us,
Our family has had contaminated water since December of 2011. I not only represent my family, but others in our community also. There are currently 3 homes in our area that have water buffaloes and 4 with vented wells due to high levels of methane and heavy metals.
We bought our home in November of 2010 and l had lived there a for a little over one year when the problems began. All of a sudden our water turned dark grey and then we noticed that it was actually erupting from the well head with a lot of force. You would hear it begin to hiss and then the water would spray out three to four feet in a circle around the well. We were instructed by the township to call the gas company that was drilling and fracking in our area.
A man from the company came and said he was not sure what was going on. He sent the DEP and a man from another company to our home to do testing…
The second company they had sent to our home was to test the air quality inside the home. He told us, as his methane detector was sounding off, that the levels were so high that we should not use the kitchen stove, as it could start a flash fire, and we should leave the bathroom window and door open and fan going during showers, as methane could build up and cause an explosion risk. He also told us the utility companies and fire department would have to be notified of our levels.
I asked him if we could continue living in our home. He said it was not for him to decide.
We were concerned that our well might explode and it is very close to the house. So to keep the pressure from building up, we ran the water constantly. Our granddaughter’s bedroom is above the kitchen and she began vomiting in the morning when she first woke up. She wasn’t running a fever and after vomiting she was fine. We thought she was just waking up hungry so we left crackers on her night stand.
By March our methane levels had nearly doubled. The DEP asked the gas company to vent our well and give us a water buffalo and disconnect our well entirely. Once the well was disconnected, our granddaughter was fine.
The Friday before our well was vented the DEP tested the free gas coming our of our well and said it was 82% methane coming out. I was quite concerned.
Also, besides the methane, we had carbon monoxide coming our of faucet. Our water tests also showed very high unnatural levels of some dangerous heavy metals. We bought camp showers for bathing our grandchildren as we were advised that the metals can pose serious health problems and can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled, not just ingested.
The closest well to us is 4000 feet away. Is a gas lease more important to people than clean water, fresh air, and uncontaminated food? Please open your eyes!! We are destroying the precious resources that God has provided us with to sustain life. Mother earth is suffering. How can she take care of us if we do not take care of her?
Tammy has more to say than these excerpts. Please come hear her, and other impacted people, this Thursday at noon in Philadelphia! She’ll join scientist Dr. Sandra Steingraber, climate activist and science journalist Bill McKibben; Josh Fox, director of Gasland; farmers Carol French (Bradford County, PA) and Stephen Cleghorn (Jefferson County, PA); the Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum, and more. Bethany Yarrow, singer/songwriter and daughter of Peter Yarrow, along with Bonnie Rait’s guitarist Freebo, will lift our spirits. Please show your support at Shale Gas Outrage: 12 noon – 2 pm, Arch Street between 13th and Broad, outside Philadelphia’s Convention Center, followed by a march.
The Interfaith Blessing of the Waters and Air, 5 – 6:30 pm this Thursday, Sept. 20th at Arch Street United Methodist Church, will pour love and support upon impacted people, activists, and all concerned about these impacts to our air, water, climate, communities, and lives.
This Friday, a Sunrise Intervention will allow people another chance to express their opposition to fracking’s destructiveness. A Nonviolence Training is being held at Friends Center (1501 Cherry Street) in Philadelphia, 6 – 9 pm Wednesday evening September 19th, in preparation.
Finally, two conferences, including the Morning Symposium on Health Impacts from shale gas drilling, a screening of three short films by Kirsi Jansa, and afternoon organizing conferences, are held in Philadelphia this Friday, September 21st. The complete schedule of events is here.